Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka was clearly hoarse after the team’s Game 6 loss to the Miami Heat at TD Garden on Friday night, likely for the same sort of shouting in frustration many fans in the arena and at home were joining him in doing.
A return of the avoidable turnovers, bad passes, and questionable shot selection that have driven the Celtics’ losses in this series so far was on full display Friday and squandered an opportunity to secure their spot in the 2022 NBA Finals playing the Golden State Warriors as a result. Yet, Udoka did not seem to lack confidence even as his voice lacked its usual timbre.
“We’ve been a resilient group, and overcome a lot of things this year,” he related.
“In general, within the series in the playoffs, nothing has been easy, and that’s the way the season has gone,” Udoka continued.
“It’s almost like we need to take the harder route at times and put ourselves in that situation due to some of the things we’ve done in this series and understand the big picture and what’s still in front of us. We put ourselves in the opportunity to have two games to win one and have to go finish it down in Miami now.”
No easy feat defeating this team on any court, never mind their home court.
It is certainly within the Celtics’ collective grasp to make it past Miami to the Finals, but the exorcision of the familiar collection of frustrating habits that have given the Heat life will be the gauntlet for Boston to run to get there.
Whether the team is truly a title contender or simply on the precipice may simply come down to a test of mental and physical toughness.
And on Sunday, we get the results.